From Russia with Love

Plekhanov Russian University of Economics Winter University 2018 

University of Tomorrow:  Innovative Pedagogy and Methodology



by Jasmin B. Cowin, Ed.D., Associate Professor of TESOL and Bilingual Studies
Graduate School of Education, Touro College, NY


It was a distinct honor to be the keynote speaker and workshop facilitator for the XIX Winter School, Plekhanov Russian University of Economics in Moscow. Thematically, Plekhanov’s Winter University focused on “Current Global  Trends in Teaching English.” The Head of the Foreign Languages Department, Irina Ekareva, Ph.D.,  Associate Professor, a highly regarded scholar of historical sciences, founded the yearly conference in the spirit of the importance of lifelong learning.  Collectively, the department instructors passed international professional exams and participate on a regular basis in international conferences and grants. The Foreign Languages Department is actively introducing and using the latest interactive technologies in teaching foreign languages through meetings and hiring international specialists for workshops and conference presentations.




Prof. Ekareva’s overarching conference theme was on the urgency to adapt to a rapidly irina picchanging world while creating agile mindsets in students and facilitators. She opened the conference with her observations on the acceleration of change domestically and globally. Her remarks crystallize a common global theme on the far-reaching disruptors within the education landscape and the dynamic developments in regards to career pathways for the iGen and Gen Alpha generations. Both Generation Alpha and iGen are the first smartphone generations in our history to be immersed from birth in the super-connected social networking and gaming landscape.

The daily workshops designed and facilitated by Prof. Dr. Cowin were: Current Global Trends in Teaching English; Developing Materials and Resources in Teaching English – Methodology; E-learning & Micro-Methodology in Teaching English; and E-Resources Discovery and Analysis. As a final project, participants submitted online learning modules for their EFL courses focused on content-based instruction while incorporating the flipped classroom model.

20180115_131540While designing the workshops, it became clear that many of the communicative activities and teaching approaches would require participants to step outside their comfort zone. Over the course of five days, the workshop attendees were challenged to incorporate new teaching approaches based on communicative, student-centered components and activities. Through using Harkness method strategies which encourage open classroom dialogue, the workshops were transformed into “Think Tanks” emphasizing a nurturing environment. This anxiety-free, collaborative approach supported risk-taking, opening up within the group, and personal initiation of hands-on activities and projects.

Upon reflection, the four C’s: communication, cooperation, creativity and critical thinking are culturally transferable and as relevant as ever in engaging teachers and students to become agile thinkers, leveraging learning for continuous improvement.

Author: drcowinj

As an Assistant Professor & Practicum Coordinator for TESOL and Bilingual Programs at Touro College, Graduate School of Education my focus is on the Responsibility to Touro Students (Teaching), Responsibility to the Discipline (Scholarship), and Responsibility to Touro College and Community (Service). As the Practicum Coordinator, my Teacher Professional Practice identifies those aspects of a teacher’s responsibilities that have been documented through empirical studies and theoretical research as promoting improved student learning. In the framework, the complex activity of teaching is divided into the seven New York State Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) Standards for teacher evaluation that are clustered into four domains of teaching responsibility (as framed in the Teachscape Danielson Rubric approved by New York State). I strive to inspire students to be creative and to model the love of lifelong learning by inculcating the habits and attitudes that create agile mindsets. 21st-century education extends well beyond the classroom and incorporates online learning technologies for L2 language acquisition and current global trends in teaching English as a Second Language. I participate fully in the larger world of TESOL academic discipline as elected Vice President and Chair Elect for the New York State, NYSTESOL organization, for the 2021 conference. Ongoing research, expressed in scholarly contributions to the advancement of knowledge is demonstrated through publications (articles in Education Update), presentations, and participation in academic conferences, blogging, and other scholarly activities, including public performances and exhibitions at conferences and workshops. Of particular interest to me are The Blockchain of Things and its implications for Higher Education; Current Global Trends in TESOL; Developing Materials and Resources in Teaching English; E-learning & Micro-Methodology in TESOL; E-Resources Discovery and Analysis; and Language Acquisition and the Oculus Rift in VR.

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